House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Published by: Delacorte
Pub Date: August 6, 2019
Format: e-arc | Source: NetGalley
Genres: young adult, fantasy, retelling
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
I loved the lyrical writing style and the world building, it was so unique! I could feel the salt spray in the air and the chill of the island. Annaleigh’s family reminded me of the Greyjoys from A Game of Thrones. I also loved the gothic vibe of the story; it was creepy and quite sad at parts, more macabre than I expected. Lots of death. I’ve always loved creepy old houses with secrets, and the stormy island really fit the overall mood hanging over the sisters.
I didn’t expect all of the horror elements but I liked how they fit into the story, although I didn’t love where it ended up. It fell apart for me in the second half, especially towards the end… I wasn’t very satisfied with how the mystery turned out. I also can’t decide how much I liked the romance. But I liked the Twelve Dancing Princesses influence and the book definitely kept me guessing and on my toes. I can’t wait to read whatever Erin writes next!
Do you like horror elements mixed into the stories you read? Or do you prefer genres to be kept separate? What about retellings? Let me know if House of Salt and Sorrows is on your TBR!